ONE NIGHT STAND

A realization has been clarifying

Surfacing amid currents of incubation

From which my truths and convictions

Emerge, fix, and enlighten my ways

 

Living feels increasingly like

The experience of a one-night stand

So many—perhaps all—of my enjoyments

Lack permanence, will depart; will leave me bereft

 

Five years adjusting—enjoying—a life in a new city

Friendships I made, vocational commitments

Departing to another new city

Making friends, vocational commitments

 

And even persisting in one place a long time

Businesses grow, downsize, lay off

Long-established establishments adjust

To the market’s demands, aging demographics

 

When a person is young, time feels long

One year is like an eternity

And few things change in one year

So it looks like things will always be

 

But with the perspective of many years

And the witness of businesses, clubs, and restaurants that close

Friends who move away, get terminally sick

One sees that happiness is subject to fortune

 

And so one takes the pleasure that the moment affords

Knowing that it may end precipitously

And that enjoyment may be over

Yet one partakes in full, aware that it is fleeting

Awake to its transitory nature

Courageously enjoying, not denying

What happiness a given situation affords

LEAVES OF REMEMBRANCE

The scattered leaves almost covered the evening’s brick paving

As we walked from one empty bar to the next

Where years ago I spent college nights

Drinking, joking, and performing on some Thursdays

After the day’s classes, coursework, researching, and writing

A chapter in my life, revisited walking through these empty bars

An old friend, children now all moved out

Recalling our band, friendship, bridging a 25 years’ gap

Filled with occupations and roles now like the fallen leaves

With which the season is done, released from their work in the season past

Me an alum living thousands of miles and decades away

He stayed, still plays, teaches

The woodwork of the bars still the same,

The ceramic mosai-esque tiles on the floor the same,

And the same, the dark, stained, aged hardwood floors

The young bartender didn’t know the owner’s name, a sometimes friend,

If he still owns it, as in those days when I used to come

When I was closer to the bartenders’ and waitresses’ age

Than my years which commanded an unexpected respect from them

In this place and generation no longer mine but in remembrance

THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT

But for one skill set

Bitterly lost from medical causes

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel better and better in time’s passing

An ancient tree grows high and wide

I know heights, now

I never knew in youth

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

My measured gait is not due to decrepitude

I carry the weight of my awareness,

Thoughts, contentedness, purpose, perceptions

Measuring my stride through life

Enraptured in the valley-view of my past

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

In the present’s contented, open mentation

LEARNING TO OUTGROW LIFE HERE

Although age slags and weakens my body

Though my agility, flexibility grow heavy and stiff

My soul grows, grows light, fills with light

Enlightenment matters more than matter

Wisdom—age’s donation to

This deteriorating flesh—

Grows as powers fail and hours fill

With matters other than those of the body

Other realms than matter suggest

Youth’s vibrant spirit

Returning in other realms when

This matter has had enough and spirit matters

My purpose here fulfilled

My soul outgrown this flesh and bone

This mortal community, camaraderie

As age passes on its lessons

Learning to outgrow life here

AN UNEASY GENERATION GAP

I could be his grandfather

So a peer relationship is likely not in the mix

Yet his expertise surpasses my own

An expertise I need

Technology

The bane of the aged

The bond of the ages

Generating the collaboration which is the extent of our bond

He declined money

Our signifiers differ significantly

So collaboration and my interest in the youth world

From the perspective of my so different world

So different signifiers

His life ahead of him, much of mine behind me

My crippling need of his expertise, coupled with his self-confidence

Technology

Will collaboration serve for a peer relationship

Our mutual interests

Our alliance uneasy

Our uneasy generation gap

AND I WILL DIE WELL

The clouds disburse

Rising up out of the pit

The overmedicated haze

That kept me out of the CSU

Now my reduced prescriptions

And acupuncture herbals

Clear, sharpen my wits, which

Have almost returned as they once were

 

Is it a time to recover my chops, or not?

Or a time to sit back, reflect on when they were hot?

There was that time when all lay in front of me

So much to master, to conquer

Most of it’s past now

The challenges I’ve conquered, arts mastered

 

The future doesn’t beckon anymore

I turn within to master my passions

While the world passes by

And I’m closer to the time when I’ll die

I ponder whether I’ll die well,

As I study to live well

 

I no longer have a youth’s drive, ambition, and energy

I’ve laid my foundation, a good one

Upon which I stand, build, have built, refine, expand

I burst the bonds that have constrained my heart

As my soul breathes free, breaks free

And I will die well

What Olding Means

Olding means the recollection of skills you’ve lost

And revelling in a lifetime’s practised accomplishment in one, or a few

Olding means counting your age by the number of injuries you’ve collected that don’t heal

You can measure your age by your patience

–The things that no longer set you off

You can feel your age by the ease sound judgements bring

You know your age by moderation,

–Having overcome impulse and craving

Olding age has seen a lot, and undersdtands, bears, and tolerates

Olding age lived well is wise

I hope young people will look forward to olding

–All the while enjoying their journey

And that olding people settle in happily to their age-right

As I did and do